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When to Give Your Man a Break: What I Learned From 30 Years of Dating and 4 Years of Marriage

Updated on September 3, 2015
Even if you’re Emily Dickinson, you need to give your man a break if he writes you a bad poem.
Even if you’re Emily Dickinson, you need to give your man a break if he writes you a bad poem. | Source

1. When He Writes You A Really Bad Poem

Even if you’re Emily Dickinson, you need to give your man a break if he writes you a bad poem. The fact that he’s even writing you a poem at all says volumes about how much he likes you (or loves you); he is putting his feelings on the line and setting himself up for rejection. If you don’t like the poem, just smile and thank him for it.

2. When He Doesn’t Want to Meet Your Family Right Away

Though it may not seem like it to you, meeting your family is a huge deal. Your man knows that he will be scrutinized and judged, especially by your dad. If your dad is like most dads, he doesn’t think that anyone is good enough for you. He remembers what he was like when he was your boyfriend’s age and he is dubious. “Is he just trying to get in my daughter’s pants?” is likely a question he has asked himself although he may never tell you this. He is not always pleased to meet whom you see to be Mr. Wonderful. A man I dated whom I nicknamed, “Guy Guy” put it this way: “Of course your dad isn’t going to like me right away; you’re his daughter.” When I look back now, it was the guys who were not a little afraid of my dad who were the biggest jerks.

There could be a myriad of reasons why he doesn’t have a car or has a crappy car.  The most common reason is that he is spending his money on his education.
There could be a myriad of reasons why he doesn’t have a car or has a crappy car. The most common reason is that he is spending his money on his education. | Source

3. If He Has a Crappy Car or No Car

Of course you city sophisticates already understand this; sometimes in places like New York it’s not even worth it to have a car considering how good public transportation is and how much it costs a month to store a car. But for those of you in most places in the United States please consider this:

The younger your guy is, the more you have to have an open mind about his car situation. There could be a myriad of reasons why he doesn’t have a car or has a crappy car. The most common reason is that he is spending his money on his education. Believe me, this is the priority. A man I dated in college borrowed his cousin’s car to take me out on a few dates. I assumed that after he dropped the car off to his cousin, his cousin drove him home. I later found out that he walked about four miles back to his dorm room, sometimes in the bitter cold and normally very late. This was definitely a great guy. An older man I dated had no car; he had just opened a deli, and had invested his money there. When I took a job at night to earn some extra money, he took the bus to my work, picked me up, and escorted me home on the bus to make sure I made it home safely. This was also a good man. He has since passed away. Rod, wherever you are, God bless.

4. If He Looks at a Woman Who Is Wearing Very Revealing Clothing

If he looks once, you almost always have to give him a break. The woman who is wearing revealing clothing wants to be looked upon. Your man is only human. Once, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a woman with a slit in her dress up to her waist walked right in front of me and my boyfriend at the time. He looked, and then rolled his eyes. “It was up to her waist, up to her waist”!

“I know, honey,” I said calmly (I didn’t always handle such situations so calmly). Handling it coolly was definitely the best move. Another time, with the same boyfriend, we saw a gorgeous woman with her breast nearly out of her dress. Her innocent looking companion was trying hard not to look at her chest, and my companion was also trying not to look, but it was just too much and both men gaped at her. I also gave him a break on this one too, and it was the right move.

However, if your companion is looking at other women constantly when he’s with you, there’s a real problem. Try talking to him about it. If the behavior doesn’t change, reassess whether or not he’s ready to be in an exclusive relationship.

Renae Ayris - Miss Universe

Your man will appreciate your sense of humor and confidence in these situations.
Your man will appreciate your sense of humor and confidence in these situations. | Source

5. If He Looks at a Woman So Hot, You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off of Her Either

I was in Las Vegas with Guy Guy walking through a hotel casino when we came upon a female casino dealer. This was a beautiful woman. She had on the perfect shirt, with the perfect bra, with the perfect chest. As a woman, I truly had to admire her; this woman knew how to dress herself (and get great tips). Guy Guy approached and said, “Could you please tell us how to get to the restaurant?” All the while he was trying very hard not to look. The beautiful casino dealer then gave us directions. When we left, we burst out laughing.

“That’s okay, honey. Even I looked,” I said. Guy Guy was relieved. Again, I handled that situation well. Your man will appreciate your sense of humor and confidence in these situations. I have certainly acted the opposite, and it normally caused an argument.

6. When It’s a Low Cash Flow Month

Low cash flow months happen. Again, the younger your guy is, the more you need to give him a break. I have learned that being patient during a low cash flow month pays off in the end. He will appreciate your patience, and not feel emasculated if you complain that you are not going nice places for a few weeks. He will appreciate it even more if you suggest nice places to go that are not expensive or if you suggest a no-cost date.

I have also learned that most of the time men don’t want to tell you when it’s a low cash flow month. If you notice a reduction in his spending habits, gently bring up the subject. He may have been dying to tell you, but just couldn’t.

7. If He Doesn’t Want to be Friends After You Break Up

Good emotional connections are difficult to forge in this life so when we find one, it’s hard for us to let them go. Sometimes, our significant other is our best friend, and so letting him go is very difficult. But it has been my experience that there are very few men with whom you can keep being “friends” after the breakup. It is usually too difficult. Someone gets jealous of someone when the other party moves on and starts dating others. It is also normally a very bad idea to keep sleeping with one another after the breakup. This is playing with fire. There is only one man with whom I could really be friends after we broke up; that was probably because he didn’t brag to me about other women he was dating (one guy did that with me, and he ended up with my red wine in his face and down the front of his shirt). He also genuinely seemed to care about my overall well-being. Most men, however, are processing a lot after a breakup with you, and communicating with one another just makes it worse. Difficult as it may be, just let him go—this I learned the hard way.

8. If He Doesn’t Like Your Haircut

I think that overall the way we look when men meet us, is the way they prefer us to look. I believe it’s because it was during the initial attraction phase of the relationship. If you all of a sudden change your appearance, it seems to be difficult for them to assimilate. When an attorney I was working with cut her beautiful, long tresses into a very short bob, her fiancé said, “Well, it’s short.” He later softened his response with, “I now feel like I’m cheating on you with you.” A drastic change in appearance will freak most men out.

There may be a scientific reason for men’s attraction to our long hair. In a study by Verlin B. Hinsz, David C. Matz, and Rebecca A. Patience, the following is noted in their abstract to their article, “Does Women’s Hair Signal Reproductive Potential?”

A significant correlation between hair length and age indicated that younger women tend to have longer hair than older women. Hair quality was correlated with women's health. Consistent with the principle of intersexual selection, the results of this study indicate that hair length and quality can act as a cue to a woman's youth and health and, as such, signify reproductive potential.

My husband met me with golden brown hair (I normally dye it this color in the summer); I later dyed it darker for the autumn. He responded right away stating that he liked my hair better lighter.

While we can’t let our man’s opinions dictate our every decision, it’s nice to know what he prefers. In the case of my hair, I tell my husband that lighter hair is coming in the spring. This seems to satisfy him.

9. If He’s Not as Nice to Someone as You Would Like

Though there are always exceptions, it has been my experience that most men are simply not as nice as most women. We cajole them, and try to help them understand how to treat people better, but sometimes to no avail. I used to think that it was because they were just being jerks (sometimes they were), but sometimes they were just standing up for what they believed were their rights, and believe it or not, sometimes they thought they were standing up for me as well, though I couldn’t see it at the time.

In an article in Psychology Today, by Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D., Ms. Seppälä asserts that men and women typically have different expressions of compassion. She states:

While women's expression involved nurturing and bonding, men's compassion was expressed through protecting and ensuring survival. Compassion just took on a different “look and feel” depending on our evolutionary needs for survival.

Not being nice is different than being abusive. If your man is repeatedly abusive to you or others, take your exit cue.

Mars brain, Venus brain: John Gray at TEDxBend

10. When He Doesn’t Feel Like Having a “Talk”

Learning to deal with this one has been difficult for me. I have seen communication as the answer to everything; on the whole, it is the most important thing in a relationship, but ladies, not always on our timeline! I’m not sure why, but most of the men I have dated need time to respond to a difficult issue. Sometimes they are avoiding the hard things, but sometimes they truly need time to think. It took me a while to realize that I had normally gone over and over in my mind what I wanted to say so my thoughts were already well defined. The fact that they want to think first before responding was sometimes a blessing. These gentlemen might not have wanted to say something unkind.

If he is repeatedly avoiding talking about an issue, ask him when you can talk about it. This puts the ball in his court and makes him feel like he has some control over the situation. Believe it or not, we can make men feel powerless.

And ladies, never bring up a difficult subject when you and your man are in the car; it’s a hydrogen bomb waiting to explode! Both parties feel trapped (nowhere to run or hide). Some of the worst arguments of my life have taken place in moving vehicles. If you must say something, pull over so you can talk. Everyone on the road will benefit.

I hope you found my suggestions helpful. If you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you.


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